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Sociology of knowledge

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-R033-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 14, 2024, from

Article Summary

Sociologists of knowledge contribute to the enterprise of generating a naturalistic account of knowledge by describing and explaining the observed characteristics of shared cultures. They assume that knowledge can be treated as an object of empirical investigation (rather than mere celebration or condemnation). Because science is understandably taken as our best example of knowledge, the sociology of scientific knowledge plays a pivotal role in the field. It is argued that our natural reasoning capacities, and our sense experience, are necessary but not sufficient conditions for scientific knowledge. Sociologists looking for the causes of its content and style focus on the contribution of conventions and institutions.

Citing this article:
Bloor, David. Sociology of knowledge, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-R033-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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